pxdrive.com -> Leon Russell
|Leon Russell Page: 1|
Music singer, songwriter, pianist, and guitarist Leon Russell picture (pic) and photo gallery, albums covers pictures.
Birth name: Claude Russell Bridges.
Born: April 2, 1942 Lawton, Oklahoma.
Russell attended Will Rogers High School in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He is occasionally referred to as "The Master of Space and Time," a title he acquired around the time of his collaborations with Joe Cocker.
First known mostly as a session musician, Russell has played with artists as varied as Jerry Lee Lewis, Phil Spector and The Rolling Stones. With a solo career spanning the genres of rock, blues, and gospel, Russell began his musical career at 14, lying about his age to land a gig playing backup at a Tulsa nightclub to play with Ronnie Hawkins behind Jerry Lee Lewis. Two years later, after settling in Los Angeles, he studied guitar with James Burton, and worked sessions with Dorsey Burnette and Glen Campbell.
After becoming a part of Phil Spector's studio group, Russell played backup on many of the most popular hits of the 1960s, including The Byrds, Gary Lewis and the Playboys, and Herb Alpert. He also served as Snuff Garrett's assistant on numerous productions. Russell built his own recording studio in 1967, and recorded his first LP, Look Inside the Asylum Choir, in a collaboration with Marc Benno.
His first songwriting hit was Joe Cocker's 1969 version of "Delta Lady", and Russell went on to organise Cocker's Mad Dogs and Englishmen tour. The Russell-written "Superstar", sung by Rita Coolidge on that tour, would go on to be a big hit by The Carpenters, Luther Vandross, and others. Shortly thereafter, Russell released a solo album, Leon Russell, which included the original version of the popular "A Song for You". Also in 1970, Russell played piano on Dave Mason's album, Alone Together (notably, on the song "Sad and Deep as You").
During the '60s and '70s, Russell had a large mansion home in Tulsa near Woodward Park and was much an attraction for teenagers growing up in Tulsa. He also owned the infamous Church Recording Studio on 3rd street there, a meeting place for Russell and many friends. The Church Studio is now owned by Glen Mitchell and one-time Russell studio engineer Steve Ripley of the country band The Tractors. Russell still records there frequently.
Russell also owned a large home on Grand Lake, in northeast Oklahoma. It still stands near Dripping Springs, remodeled now, but a fond reminder of the days gone by for the now-grown kids in Oklahoma. At one time, it stood to be one of the largest homes on the lake. The home is now owned by Tulsa chiropractor and Leon Russell enthusiast Dr. F.J. Huskey. The home still contains the famous dining room table and chairs made from church pews from his Church Studio. On the property stands a private recording studio that has seen many famous names, including members of The Beatles.
In 1971, Russell appeared at George Harrison's Concert for Bangladesh (performing a memorable medley of the songs "Jumpin' Jack Flash" and "Young Blood"), after recording sessions with B.B. King, Eric Clapton, and Bob Dylan, and went on to tour with the Rolling Stones. Two more studio releases would see the light of day that Year, Leon Russell And The Shelter People and Asylum Choir II.
In 1972, his album Carney reached #2 on the charts, fueled by the hit single "Tightrope." In addition, the LP contained a tune called "This Masquerade" that the Carpenters also recorded, and years later, would win a grammy for George Benson.
During the '70s, Russell continued to pop in occasionally and perform in Tulsa at the Paradise Club and other noted music spots around town. He surprised his fans one night performing with Flash Eddy and the Eclectics at the Paradise.
His 1975 album Will O'the Wisp was fairly commercially successful, as was its single "Lady Blue". Gailard Sartain, fondly remembered by Tulsans as Mezeppa Pompazoidi (a Saturday night movie host, joined many times by Gary Busey), did the cover artwork for the LP.
Later that year, Russell married Mary McCreary, a former member of Sly & the Family Stone's background vocal group Little Sister. The two collaborated on The Wedding Album in 1976. In 1977, Russell and McCreary reunited for another album, and in 1979 Russell worked on a collaboration with Willie Nelson. He spent the next two years touring with the New Grass Revival, and released two more albums with Paradise before the label folded.
For several years, Russell stayed largely out of the music spotlight, releasing Anything Can Happen in 1992, then two more albums in 1998 and 1999. He continues to tour at the age of 64. His bassist, Jack Wessel, has been with Russell close to 25 years. His son with McCreary, Teddy Jack (named after Gary Busey's character on Sartain's show), has also toured with his dad, as well as sisters Tina Rose and Sugaree.